Another infuriating, but at times fascinating, Q and A was broadcast last night. This one was dominated by the personality of Rachel Griffiths. She is certainly a charismatic, elegant woman and a brilliant actress. When it comes to politics, however, she's obviously a blithering idiot. But that's par for the course with these arty, lefty chicks, as we all know ...
Tony Jones, the other panellists, and pretty much the entire audience seemed to be star-struck by her presence. Watch the tape, particularly in the beginning, and you'll see what I mean. It was as if they were all struggling to reconcile this living, breathing figure sitting before them with one or more of her many memorable screen characters. It was quite interesting to watch.
She realized she was the centre of attention so she really let rip, particularly near the end. Some of her stream of consciousness riffs were as dippy as they were long. Made me wonder whether she'd hit the turps beforehand, actually. But I suspect not. Spouting psychobabble is the norm if you're a lefty, and it tends to get even nuttier if you're famous and adored. That's because everyone looks up to you, and no one dares say what a twit you are.
The first questioner asked which "Julia" Griffiths would bring to the tele-movie about the ex-PM. Griffiths said that she'd try and find and "inhabit the human being" behind the public figure:
JONES: How do you go about doing that, particularly a very controversial one like this, a real person who is obviously still alive when you do the performance?
RACHEL GRIFFITHS: I think I will read everything I can. I will talk to everybody I can, probably people she doesn't want me to talk to, people she does. I've spent some time with her. I think it's true what people say that the closer you get, the more you like her and the closer you get to News Limited the less you like her. Did I just make that up? Maybe.
TONY JONES: I think you just made cut-and-paste anyway.
RACHEL GRIFFITHS: Might have. Did she really say that? I think, as you dive into playing a character, the idea is that you should lose all perspective. So you kind of go deeper and deeper into a person and at that point are probably less able to argue any political position. I would try to put myself in her shoes. How is it to be a female entering the highest office of the land and being received the way she was? How is it to be a woman in politics? I will talk to people like yourself about your first experience and your first day of Parliament and whether or not you felt that was a welcome place for women. I’ll be...
I was struck by her obsession with the gender politics angle, even though she was expressing her desire to move beyond it. Maybe she was like this before being handed the role -- a strong possibility. Or perhaps this attitude had been heightened and honed by the process of identifying with Gillard -- the ultimate victim feminist -- and she was still seeing the world through this prism?
I think there was some of the latter influence because through the rest of the discussion so much of what Griffiths said seemed to echo the dreary PC cant of that dreadful mediocrity -- although mercifully she spared us the grim, grinding voice.
Take her right-on expression of support for Hillary Clinton, which came just after boofhead Eddie McGuire trotted out the obligatory male feminist suck-speech in support of the Bogan Queen:
RACHEL GRIFFITHS: I think we’ll be creating our extraordinary piece of riveting television in the shadow of, and that is the rise of Hillary Clinton, because I absolutely believe that she will be the next US President and I think her being a post-menopausal woman, a woman that has now escaped the kind of scrutiny of the child-bearing sexual creature of a woman in her prime and she can just do the older woman withering stare to her critic. She has got her kind of smoky voice down now. She is smooth. She is not jarring and there is an army of women - I can't tell you how surprised people are going to be, the women who are going to come out and organise for Hillary, and elevate her to that office and I think it's going to take us by surprise as we see that energy and I believe those women are here. I think there is baby boomer women and women of older generations whose are absolutely - are passionate about Julia and they loved seeing a woman in our office and I think we are a representative democracy and that our Parliament should look like that.
So Clinton in the US, and Gillard here, are powerful figures and great role models for women ...
RACHEL GRIFFITHS: But can I just also say that placards of "ditch the witch" and placards against Tony Abbott are not stopping participation of fantastic people into Parliament. It's actually the bullying on the floor. So we can get distracted by social media but the truth is we get thick skins against that stuff and we develop resilience and we are teaching our kids resilience now. But if go into our Westminster system, that is bullying live on television and it absolutely relies on belittling and pulling people down and a kind of private school legacy of Eton and Harrow yelling at each other across the floor and it's not where any smart, successful woman I know really chooses to go and make a difference.
Eh? Is she implying that Gillard was not smart and successful? Hell, she was the bloody PM!
Sounds like Griffiths is trying to have it both ways. That's sooo like Gillard herself. She and her feminist mates said she deserved the gig because of discrimination against her gender. When her wish was granted -- thereby negating the validity of her premise -- she went and made an almighty hash of it. But rather than taking responsibility for her actions, she went and blamed "the patriarchy" all over again. How sad. She hadn't learned a thing. She's still the spoiled child she was in the beginning.
There were other examples of Griffiths channeling the ghost of Gillard. Her misogyny goggles were on, plugged in, and powered up. Take this interchange from earlier in the discussion:
LINDSAY FOX: Michael, I'm a great believer that we owe a great amount of support to anybody that has the high office of Prime Minister of Australia, whether he is Protestant, whether he is a Catholic, whether he is or a Jew.
RACHEL GRIFFITHS: Or a she.
But strangely, Griffiths was blind to the much clearer example of sexist behaviour happening right in front of her, namely Tony Jones -- probably one of the whitest of white males -- rudely interrupting Kelly O'Dwyer repeatedly throughout the show.
But on second thoughts this made perfect sense. Those misogyny goggles are very selective, after all ...